We’re back on the road for the winter! We packed the miniatures for a tour of the country, we have a few places on our list to visit in New Mexico and Arizona and a lot of room for unscheduled stops!
On our way down from Minneapolis, MN we drove through Tucumcari and the ghost town of Cuervo in New Mexico. Both towns were covered with snow and looked very different from our original Mini Road Trips Route 66 postcards series.
We finally got around to documenting our own city of Minneapolis. A few months ago our friend and framer (Steve) remodeled his shop and expressed the desire to hang Kurt's photography on his walls with one request: the scenes had to be featuring Minneapolis landmarks.
Kurt and I never formally researched and documented the city through photographs like we did other places. We figured that because we lived in the middle of it, we would take care of it another time. After we made the transition to a Travco motorhome, we started to spend A LOT less time in our own State. So, Steve gave us the incentive we needed and Minneapolis became our next Un Petit Monde project for this early fall.
We (especially Kurt, who spent the majority of his life in and around Minneapolis) had to see the city with new eyes and a new mind. I thought it was an exciting challenge! During the project I felt like a visitor in my own town, rediscovering old signage and going places we usual don't frequent (the Mississippi river bank, the bowling alley, the cherry on the spoon although that one didn't work).
Kurt's new work was added to the Twin Cities gallery and includes a scene of a worker doing construction at the site of the new Viking Stadium, downtown Minneapolis.
This year we were blessed to experience the fall colors on the North Shore of Minnesota. Kurt wanted to document the scenery with the miniatures. A couple weeks ago, Kurt used an HO scale log truck, he modified the front cab a bit and I researched a credible location to photograph it.
We learned about Heartbreak Ridge trail in the Superior National Forest. The grade in this forest road was so steep that it gave the loggers (and their horse) a heartache...
The Superior National Forest was full of opportunities, Kurt felt compelled to capture a lumberjack on a log covered with moss.
On another day, Kurt focused on capturing a hiker on exposed tree roots in Gooseberry Falls State Park.
A couple weeks ago we visited Iona's Beach north of Two Harbors where Kurt photographed a couple scenes. The first scene happened as we were walking on the path through the woods. Kurt noticed the beautiful light on the moss. It was the perfect spot for a hiker.
We reached the beach and it looked stunning with the pink stones and the deep blue water but according to Kurt the sun was too high and the light was casting harsh shadows. Instead, he turned to the small rocky cliff on the edge of the beach. The bright yellow lichen was standing out and there was some vegetation as well, it was a great environment for the miniature hiker to explore.
Over the past couple weeks we noticed bright mushrooms popping out under trees at the campground. We located a couple of them that looked cartoon-like and Kurt thought that his miniature farmer could harvest them. Yesterday, we learned that those good looking mushrooms were poisonous :) Kurt commented that if he had known this he would have brought his hazmat crew!
Kurt was commissioned to photograph a piece involving miniatures in New York City. He took the opportunity to photograph for our side project featuring larger figurines (more on this in a future post) and for Un Petit Monde, of course.
Although we were short on time, in most cases we walked instead of taking the subway. It allowed Kurt to explore other photographic opportunities for our projects. We're definitely planning to go back to New York sometime in the future to document more Un Petit Monde scenes.
Kurt is currently photographing for a project involving miniature figures of a slightly larger scale. Some of the characters require very specific elements in the background. For one of the scenes, he needed a green fire. Kurt found out that Boric Acid and Methanol mixed together and ignited would give out a green flame. The next step was to figure out a way to control the flame so it would burn tall and look natural. Kurt's trick was to mold a piece of foil paper into a thin sleeve with edges so the mixture would not spill yet low profile enough so it couldn't be noticed in the final shot.
We are stationed on the North Shore of Minnesota for the summer. We have been taking advantage of our proximity to Lake Superior to document the miniatures. In June, the lake was so cold that almost everyday we were treated to some type of fog.
Although our stay on the North Shore feels like a vacation, we are working hard to grow our library of photos. By mid-June, Kurt started to complain that his back was aching. I think that laying sideways on the lava flow (irregular rocks) doesn't help his situation. Some terrains are easier on the body than others! Anyway, Kurt is growing our collection of images with real enthusiasm! I have been documenting Kurt in his process and plan on making a short documentary about him and his work.
We are currently working on a commission for an article on climate change. We are thrilled that the miniatures are being used to illustrate such an important issue, one that we are very passionate about!
Kurt has been creating/transforming most of the props and characters to fit the different scenes.
For one of the scenes, we needed access to solar panels. The owner of a solar company agreed to let us climb on the roof of a client's business in downtown St. Augustine.
To get to the roof we had to climb up a rickety ladder for the last few feet. I didn't want to make it a big deal because we were on a mission, but it was my first time climbing a ladder and I was a bit nervous!
It was around 2 p.m, hot and sunny. The shot turned out great!
We consider ourselves fortunate to be spending extra time in St. Augustine! Every other day, Kurt and I are in the Historic Old Town, photographing miniatures in the streets.
of St. Augustine in Florida...Situated on the East Coast of Florida and founded in 1565, it's the nation's oldest city. We knew we wanted to visit it with the miniatures before we leave the area. Kurt was so inspired by St. Augustine that he's thinking about creating a separate gallery of images revolving around it!
On our first day, we decided to walk everywhere. After spending the early morning at the Castillo De San Marcos, we crossed over the Bridge of Lions to get to the Lighthouse.
The Lighthouse of St. Augustine is very photogenic with its black and white stripes and its red top. We didn't expect to find it inland, away from the water.
We scoped a good vantage point and Kurt tried different angles for about half an hour. As it turns out the best angle was outside the lighthouse premises, between two private properties, underneath tree branches.
Light was a struggle. The sun was illuminating the lighthouse, leaving the foreground in the shadows. We waited a while for the right light.
For this scene, Kurt kept the storyline simple: the lighthouse keeper was out for a bike ride and he ran into an old friend.
The Castillo De San Marcos was built in 1672. We went early in the morning for the best light and to avoid the crowds. We walked half-way around the fort and Kurt found a spot he thought he could work with.
We had a lot of fun at the Old Drugstore. The drugstore was abandoned in the 60's with all its inventory inside, dusty but intact! The best of it is on display and the girl at the front was kind enough to slide the glass door open and let our miniature inspect the different potions.
Towards the end of the day, we roamed through narrow streets and looked at old houses. Kurt stopped in front of Murat House - ca. 1790. The late afternoon light was reflecting back on the walls. Kurt pulled out the old man with his cane and after a few tries thought that he needed company so he added the old woman and dedicated the scene to me :)